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Anise

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  • Botanical: Pimpinella anisum
  • Family: Apiaceae
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Anise

Botanical

Pimpinella anisum

Family

Apiaceae

Known as

Pimpinella anisum L., anise burnet saxifrage, Anise, Anis,

Old Use

culinary; medicinal

Collection Times

August to September

Parts Used

leaves, seed

Aroma

spicy, sweet

Medicinal

anorexia, asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, coughs, cramps, epilepsy, fatigue, headache, indigestion, infections, insect bites, insomnia

Hormone & Sexual Organs

cramps

Infection & Inflammation

infections

Mind & Nerves

epilepsy, fatigue (exhaustion), headache, insomnia

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, cough

Stomach & Intestinal

indigestion

Skin & Hair

insect bites

Properties

antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, relaxant, stimulant, stomachic

Note

top

Extraction

steam distillation

Description

Anise is a herbaceous annual plant growing to 1 m (3 ft) or more tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 1–5 cm (⅜-2 in.) long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous leaves. The flowers are white, approximately 3 mm in (⅛ in.) in diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, 3–6 mm (⅛-¼ in.) long, usually called "aniseed".

Anise is a food plant for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths), including the lime-speck pug and wormwood pug.

Properties & Uses

Aniseed has a delicious sweet liquorice-like flavour and is a commonly used and very safe herbal remedy that is well suited for all age groups from children to the elderly. However, its use has declined in recent years with the advent of cheaper substitutes such as Illicium verrum and synthetic substances. It is a particularly useful tonic to the whole digestive system and its antispasmodic and expectorant effects make it of value in the treatment of various respiratory problems. The seed is the part used, generally in the form of an extracted essential oil. The essential oil comprises 70 - 90% anethole, which has an observed oestrogenic effect whilst the seed is also mildly oestrogenic. This effect may substantiate the herb's use as a stimulant of sexual drive and of breast-milk production. The essential oil should not be used internally unless under professional supervision whilst the seeds are best not used medicinally by pregnant women, though normal culinary quantities are quite safe. The seed is antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, pectoral, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is of great value when taken internally in the treatment of asthma, whooping couch, coughs and pectoral affections as well as digestive disorders such as wind, bloating, colic, nausea and indigestion. Externally it is used to treat infestations of lice, scabies and as a chest rub in cases of bronchial disorders. A strong decoction of the seeds can be applied externally to swollen breasts or to stimulate the flow of milk. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Pimpinella anisum for cough and bronchitis, fevers and colds, common cold, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, dyspepsia, loss of appetite. Contraindicated in patients allergic to anise and anethol. Sensitization as an adverse effect observed rarely. 

Other Uses

An essential oil is obtained from the seed, used in perfumery, tooth pastes, medicinally and as a food flavouring. The powdered seed can be used as a dentrifice and mouthwash. The plant is an ingredient of pot-pourri. The plant can be used as an insect repellent but it is also said to attract mice. If aniseed oil is liberally smeared around live-traps it can attract mice and other rodents into them. The plants seem to be immune to the predations of slugs and snails and can help to protect neighbouring plants. A spray made by boiling of one part coriander leaves and one part anise seeds in two parts of water is very effective against red spider mites and woolly aphids.

Cautions

Avoid use during pregnancy.

Distribution

Originally located in the eastern Mediterranean region, anise is today grown worldwide in temperate regions.The main growing area is southern Russia.

Constituents

essential oil, anethole, Isoanethol, Ansiketon, anisic acid, acetaldehyde, acetylcholine, azulene, bergapten, boron, camphor, carvone, chamazulene, eugenol, caffeic acid, coumarins, myristicin, salicylate, thymol, umbelliferone, xanthotoxin, vitamin C

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.